The Oak Ridge City Council on Monday will consider a $325,000 transfer for operations at Tennessee Centennial Golf Course. If approved, the operating transfer would be the first non-debt related transfer from the city’s General Fund to the Golf Course Fund since the golf course was built, Oak Ridge City Manager Mark Watson said.
About $225,000 of the transfer, a cash infusion, would be for outstanding accounts payable. Another $100,000 would be operational funding for the winter, including maintenance of the greens.
The General Fund would still have a balance equivalent to two months of operations after the transfer, Watson said in a memo to City Council members.
Watson said the golf course was affected by several factors this past year, most notably weather.
“Beginning last winter, Centennial faced major long-term freezes in February that destroyed significant patches of turf, requiring re-sodding and maintenance,” Watson said. “Conditions at the course had deteriorated to the extent that additional fertilizer treatments and turf repairs were needed.”
The only resource the city has to provide operational funding for the golf course is through the General Fund.
“The city’s current contractual relationship with Billy Casper Golf states all expenses belong to the Centennial Golf Course and, ultimately, the city,” Watson said. “Due to weather-related circumstances beyond the operators’s control, revenue levels that usually cover expenses have not occurred in 2015. Capital repairs, ongoing costs, increasing competition, and weather have affected the bottom line.”
Watson cited rain and weather as factors that affected golf course operations this year. Through November, Oak Ridge had received 6.62 inches of rain above the normal precipitation of 37.92 inches, he said.
“In review of golf rounds, there were 60 days where less than 20 rounds were played,” Watson said. “February was brutal with the ice storms, with a loss of half the month for available play and cold.”
The city manager said many weekends were affected by weather in the first months of the year. Through November, the course reported 30,291 rounds. Billy Casper Golf, the course contractor, had been given a goal of 32,000 for the year, which is probably not attainable, Watson said.
But there is a new manager, Don Tillar Jr., who is diligently working to improve the spring leagues and tournament schedules, Watson said, and the course is being aggressively marketed to customers.
The Oak Ridge City Council meeting starts at 7 p.m. Monday, December 14, in the Municipal Building Courtroom. See the agenda here.
More information will be added as it becomes available.
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